She had to forget about every love song she had ever heard. They were all written by men anyway – about how misunderstood they are and how the right woman could save them and how that was only you – only you understood the real him. Johnny Lee was wrong – just because you heard it in a lo-ove song doesn’t mean it can’t be wrong. In fact, it likely was.
As she went through her day, doing laundry, writing, grading papers, she tried to drown out all of those infernal, misleading lyrics combined with pictures of him and the sound of his laughing voice or his apologies ringing in her ears. All of those were lies. Maybe not intentional lies, but they were certainly not truths to be believed, that much was certain.
The fact that she was still in this relationship at all made her feel worthless and stupid. Stupid most of all. How many other women had she worked with and counseled? She of all people should have known better and here she was falling for all of the apologies that all of the abusive men had been making for decades (since it was only in the past few decades that this was even thought of as abuse) and she had been listening to them for years – since the very beginning of the relationship. What was wrong with her? Why had she put up with this all these years?
She couldn’t bear to admit it to herself – was it because he was one of the few men she had liked and approached that has reciprocated? The first blush of a new relationship had stayed, maybe even been renewed through the constant pattern of fighting and making up. It was as if she had met him all over every time he apologized and was tender. She was embarrassed to think that she had been just as stupid, just as fooled as all those women before her.
Or maybe it was her black and white way of thinking. When she had worked with abused women, she saw only the bruises, the fighting man, not realizing that there had been reasons that the women had fallen in love with the men in the first place and that it was those traits the women saw in the men, just as she had seen his vulnerable, tender side all these years – had seen and even shared in his dreams. She had to let his desires for a new life go, perhaps even more than her own. She laid down her head and cried.
She was not going to see their every moment together as a lie. That kind of denial would not serve her well. But she was going to try not to be taken in anymore. I have loved you and will be glad for that. With that, she stood up and turned off the radio and went back to work.